Evolution of multilevel caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) and its relation to human occupation



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Ortega Martínez, Ana Isabel and Benito Calvo, Alfonso and Pérez González, Alfredo and Martín Merino, Miguel Ángel and Pérez Martínez, R. and Parés Casanova, Josep María and Aramburu Artano, Arantza and Arsuaga Ferreras, Juan Luis and Bermúdez de Castro, José María and Carbonell i Roura, Eudald (2013) Evolution of multilevel caves in the Sierra de Atapuerca (Burgos, Spain) and its relation to human occupation. Geomorphology, 196 . pp. 122-137. ISSN 0169-555X

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Official URL: https://doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.05.031


The evolution of the Torcas cave system (Sierra de Atapuerca) is analysed in order to shed light on the formation of the Atapuerca archaeological sites and human occupation in the area, critical for identifying the paths of the first human dispersal into Europe. The geomorphological analysis of the endokarst system and the regional base levels has revealed a multilevel cave system, with drainage directions from south to north, where old karst springs fed the Pico River. Using morphological and topographic evidence we have correlated the fluvial terraces situated at relative heights of + 84–80 m and + 78–70 m above the Arlanzón River (main course), with the first and second cave levels, respectively, both of Early Pleistocene age. The fluvial levels T4 (+ 60–67 m) and T5 (+ 50–54 m) are linked with the third level (Early–Middle Pleistocene), which contains fluvial deposits probably related to terrace T6 (+ 44–46 m). Progressive fluvial incision allowed humans to gain access to the cave system through several entrances from ~ 1.22 Myr until the end of the Middle Pleistocene, when these cave entrances became filled, forming the most interesting hominid-bearing deposits in Europe.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Karst; Multilevel caves; Fluvial incision; Archaeological site; Pleistocene
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:65068
Deposited On:26 Apr 2021 14:09
Last Modified:26 Apr 2021 15:22

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